Despite huge progress in vaccine development in 2020 and the first approvals of new COVID-19 vaccines, global supply shortages persisted across the world in 2021 due to lack of biomanufacturing capacity.
In response to the pandemic, Univercells took the decision to establish a new large-scale biomanufacturing facility, acquiring a site in 2020 with the support of the European Investment Bank.
Using our box-in-a-box approach to rapidly build, equip, and validate the viral vector facility, the team worked tirelessly throughout 2021 towards certification by the health authorities. With already 21 projects in R&D made more accessible thanks to our expertise, the facility received a positive opinion from Belgian health authorities for commercial production, making the incredible achievement of going from warehouse to GMP capabilities in 18 months.
The facility in Jumet provides additional large scale GMP manufacturing capacity ready to welcome customers needing manufacturing capacity of viral vector vaccines.
Most importantly, it created 140 jobs in Belgium and contributed to entrench Belgium as at the heart of biotechnology in Europe.
Finally, given that the facility design is suitable for both stick build and container-based solutions, it created a precedent for partners in low-and middle-income countries to replicate.
Thanks to our low-footprint approach, we were able to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% compared to a traditional approach.